Rodriguez v. U.S. Dep't of Army, No. 12-1923, 2014 WL 1245001 (D.D.C. Mar. 27, 2014) (Contreras, J.)

Date: 
Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rodriguez v. U.S. Dep't of Army, No. 12-1923, 2014 WL 1245001 (D.D.C. Mar. 27, 2014) (Contreras, J.)

Re: Request for records concerning investigation of plaintiff

Disposition: Granting defendant's motion for summary judgment; denying plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment

  • Procedural Requirements, Searching for Responsive Records:  The court "finds summary judgment proper on the adequacy of the search."  The court holds that "defendant met its burden in establishing the adequacy of its search by submitting declarations demonstrating 'that the search method was reasonably calculated to uncover all relevant documents.'"  The court explains that " [n]ot only did the defendant search the two places most likely to contain the exhibits, but the defendant also conducted additional searches."  Additionally, the court finds that "plaintiff incorrectly argues that the defendant's search was inadequate for its failure to locate the documents."
     
  • Exemption 3:  The court finds that "[a]lthough not initially withheld under Exemption 3, a provision of the Federal Victim's and Witness Protection Act (2009), 18 U.S.C. § 3509(d), prohibits the disclosure of the names and other information of child victims and witnesses and therefore, serves as an additional basis for withholding the statements and drawings of the child victim . . . and the medical records of the child victim."  The court relates that "[t]he Federal Victim and Witness Protection Act 'establishes particular criteria for withholding' information concerning a child who is a victim of physical or sexual abuse and thus complies with the requirements of Exemption 3."  The court notes that "[t]he statute prohibits disclosing 'the name or any other information concerning a child.'"
     
  • Exemption 6:  The court holds that "defendant properly withheld [material] under Exemption 6."  The court relates that the material at issue consists of "'the psychological/medical records of a minor child made part of an Army CID Report of Investigation into the rape and sodomy of the same minor child by the plaintiff almost 20 years ago.''  The court finds that "[b]y the very nature of these exhibits, it is clear that there is a substantial privacy interest in withholding the thoughts and medical diagnosis of a minor child, who is now an adult."  Additionally, the court finds that "plaintiff offers no evidence 'that would warrant a belief by a reasonable person that the alleged Government impropriety might have occurred.'"  The court also holds that "defendant properly withheld these exhibits in their entirety due to their lack of segregability."
     
  • Exemption 7(C):  The court holds that defendant properly withheld the names and identifying information of Army personnel and the child victim's written statements.  The court finds that "plaintiff offers no support for the alleged government misconduct" or "for his assertion that the child victim's statements were improperly withheld because the interview of the victim was inconsistent with victim's written statements."  Therefore, the court finds that "there is no competing public interest in disclosing the information that outweighs the privacy interests." 
Topic: 
District Court
Exemption 3
Exemption 6
Exemption 7C
Procedural
Search
Updated August 22, 2014